Love should be at the root of every decision in life. And during the Coronavirus pandemic love is the reason we are changing our behavior. We are inspired by the history of our faith to look after and protect those who are weak.
Romans 15: 1-2 (MSG), Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who are weak, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”
Trust in Christ is also another core tenet of our faith. Challenging times and circumstances are here, but let us remind ourselves of the trust, hope, and peace that we find in our King Jesus.
His words in John 16: 31-33, “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Our pastors met again this week to discuss and pray for our plan of action. We’re sure our plan isn’t perfect, but we are confident the Spirit has guided us. Since circumstances are changing daily, we will continue to closely monitor, respond, and update as needed. We hope you will join us as we faithfully respond to adverse circumstances in our world.
1. Until further notice no in-person gatherings will take place, including: Student Ministry, English lessons, Neighborhood Collectives, or Sunday Worship Gatherings.
2. WE WILL CONTINUE HOSTING interactive Community Gatherings led via Zoom video. Gatherings will include personal updates, prayer, and Communion (Sundays). Gatherings will take place at 10:00am Sundays and 9:30pm on Wednesday nights. You can access those virtual gatherings here. The virtual meeting room will open at 9:50am on Sundays and 9:20pm on Wednesdays so people can login and get comfortable with the settings. Also, check out these tips for interacting and engaging in a Zoom gathering.
3. If you do choose to spend time in the presence of others, please follow some basic precautions:
- No one present is sick or has any reason to think they have been exposed to Coronoavirus
- Hosts make sure shared surfaces are disinfected before and after the people gather: doorknobs, chairs, table, countertops, bathrooms, etc.
- Everyone washes their hands thoroughly (more than 20 seconds) upon arrival and upon returning to a home.
- Food and drink are served individually (bring your own individually prepared food and don’t share). Bring your own utensils to eat with as well.
- As much distance as possible is maintained between members of different households and their belongings.
4. Create a Healthy Rhythm! Here are some ideas:
- Limit yourself on news and social media intake. It won’t take much to stay up to date and it will do your heart and mind well to protect yourself from cynicism and anger.
- Initiate or continue group texts – make an effort to create a tone of positivity, support, and encouragement. Ask group questions, share hopes, prayers, and needs.
- Connect on the Restore Facebook Community Page here. Another good place to post needs, ideas, or prayers.
- Take a daily walk or run, and pray over neighbors homes as you walk by or even with neighbors you bump into
- Ride your bike
- Go for a hike
- Take a scenic drive alone or with family and play a curated playlist of joyful music
- When you take in content, make sure most of it sparks hope, joy, warmth, and encouragement: some of the more fun or uplifting pieces of content we’ve seen recently: Won’t You Be My Neighbor, The Kindness Diaries (Netflix), Magic for Humans (Netflix), and Yesterday (HBO). Got a suggestion, post it on the RC Facebook Community page! Let’s crowdsource some joy and hope people!
- Play music loud and dance. Shannon Little highly recommends dancing in the kitchen.
- If you experienced the 80’s and 90’s, there was once a phenomenon of phone calls. If someone comes to mind, call them. Just to check-in, get lost in a phone conversation with a friend.
- Cook something incredible – The French Chef with Julia Child is on Amazon Prime (Season 1).
- Got other ideas? Share them via texts, emails, and social media!
5. Pray for and serve the most vulnerable. We have a special opportunity to tell you about on Sunday morning. Until then, here are some other ideas:
- Volunteer or share the location of public school meal handouts
- Initiate a text or email string with neighbors. Keep an eye out for elderly neighbors and check in on them. They are probably safer having you shop or deliver groceries than going to the store themselves. They probably won’t ask for your help so offer, even if it’s uncomfortable. Be pro-active and bold RC!
- Are you an introvert or dred small talk? 🙂 Both? Here is some help
- Team up to provide childcare for one another since there are many dual income households. Obviously, take the necessary precautions recommended above and stay in tune with CDC and Montgomery County recommendations.
- Volunteer to serve meals or provide info to others: Montgomery County crisis services info or PG County crisis services.
- Restore Church Lent Prayer Liturgy
- Do you have ideas on how to care for the most vulnerable? Please share with each other!
6. Join the Restore Marco Polo group thread!
Marco Polo is a video messaging app that allows you to send video messages in a thread! So if you want to share something that brought you joy today, record a video message and send it to the chat! If something has you anxious or you need prayer for something, record a video message and send it to the thread! If you need groceries, your kid(s) did something funny, or you were inspired by something, record a video message and send it to the thread!
You can download the app and join the thread by clicking on the following link: https://onmarcopolo.com/groups/57zPBi26gUAO/restore-church
This is a fun way to connect with each other via video. Need help on this? Email email@example.com
This pandemic is creating a lot of pain and fear. People are vulnerable, not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The effects of this are just starting. If someone crosses your path or comes to mind, take that as a divinely inspired appointment to tend to the heart and mind of another. You are agents of unconditional love Restore and citizens of heaven. Carry that with you and share it abundantly!
Note: Special thanks to the many articles and people that contributed to this plan. This has been and will continue to be a team effort.